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‘This is Evolution’
Thirteen by Joseph Freistuhler
© 2014 James LaFond
2013 Ugli studios, 6 pages, a featurette in Ugli Studios Presents #2, available at and at
When it comes to comics I’m a middle-aged virgin. I dislike superheroes so much that I have avoided reading comics for most of my life. Lately, it has been my pleasure to make the acquaintance of some younger people who have leant me comics I can relate to: adventure, horror, serious sci-fi.
I have always relished being able to sit back and read a story: a weird one, an insightful one, or an adventure. However, it has become increasingly difficult for me to find a paper back under 300 pages, or any sci-fi or fantasy that is not feminized to the point of literary emasculation. There is some good new stuff out there but it is anthologized in big books that are a pain in the ass for me to haul around in the ghetto, or are part of a lengthy series of pretty thick novels. This is a problem for me because my eyes are fading into old age and I have a hefty nonfiction reading schedule.
Ugli studios just provided me with a perfect solution. Last night I had been up for 24 hours, was fading, did not have time for a movie, and was too beat to outline a story. But I wanted some what-if action or dynamic wonder, whatever it might be. I reached for Ugli Studios #2 and paged to the shortest of the three comics within.
Thirteen starts out walking, with the reader literally carried into a meeting of genetically engineered conspirators at a walking pace, as the key figure ponders broodingly over the nature of his siblings and himself. I can give away no more of the story than that.
The frames use white on black with a blue-gray backdrop outlined in white. I read it in the half light and enjoyed it. I also read it under a high watt light and got some more nuance from it. The tone reminds me of Nightly News with a much darker taint and a more linear easy-to-follow plot. The mixture of occult conspiracy and science with a gothic edge brings to mind the black and white 1930s psychological horror movies I used to watch on late night TV in the early 1970s.
Although I know nothing about movie scripts and have not yet been issued my comic geek card, I see in Thirteen what I suspect Tarantino and Zombie have been trying to zero in on in their work—a visceral masculine rebellion against our sick artificial Mommy Society. Thirteen speaks to me about this in a tone of justifiable ugliness that was right on the mark.
I hope Joseph will be continuing Thirteen. Check it out.
You can find out more about Joseph Freistuhler at
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Taboo You
solo boxing
the first boxers
when you're food
menthol rampage
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